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Teacher guides visually impaired kids on career path

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-09-28 07:52
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Zhang Lin gives hands-on instruction to a visually impaired student in a massage class at Beijing Union University. [Photo by Ju Huanzong/Xinhua]

In a special classroom of acupuncture and massage at Beijing Union University, Zhang Lin uses her clear and loud voice as she guides students through each step.

The students work in pairs, one as the "doctor" and the other as the "patient" while Zhang corrects their skills patiently and individually, holding their hands to find the exact pressure point.

Zhang, 47, is a special education teacher whose students have varying degrees of visual impairment. Sept 10 marked Zhang's 27th Teachers' Day as a teacher of visually impaired children.

"When I started my career with these kids, the biggest obstacle was Braille," Zhang says, adding that she taught herself Braille every night, but found it difficult as the raised dots of the books were the same color as the paper background.

In the process of teaching, Zhang found that systematic medical teaching materials in Braille were relatively scarce in the market, so she made full use of the Braille she had learned, to design and develop a series of barrier-free teaching materials together with other teachers.

Besides teaching materials, Zhang and her colleagues also developed auxiliary teaching tools.

"For example, we used convex lines and points to clearly mark meridians and acupoints on the human body model, which were equipped with the point-reading function, so that students could identify the names and indications of acupoints with point-reading pens," Zhang says.

Physical capacity is also a huge challenge for teachers of acupuncture and moxibustion. In the practical training class, the visually impaired students are unable to concentrate in class in the same way as those with full sight, making individual instruction a must for the special education teachers.

"I have to lead them hand-in-hand, to explore the acupoints and repeatedly help them adjust the strength and technique. After each class, it is normal to be soaked in sweat," Zhang says.

"Zhang takes great care of us and she also cares for every classmate. From all aspects, she is our role model," says Chang Erhan, Zhang's student.

Zhang says, "I have taught thousands of visually impaired students and they have taught me a lot as well, such as not giving up in the face of difficulty."

More than 90 percent of Zhang's students are now engaged in massage, rehabilitation, healthcare and other fields.

"Being in the sector for more than 20 years, I have witnessed the leaps China has made in protecting the rights and interests of the disabled, bringing tangible benefits for visually impaired students," she says.

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